Innovation and risk taking

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

1. Explain the four quadrants of risk delegation and how to react to each.
2. Describe how to engage and embrace innovation.
3. Explain the role senior leaders play in an association’s innovative culture.

The tasks below will be automatically checked off once you complete watching the video and taking the quiz.

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Things are changing faster than ever before. Everything is going to be impacted by increasing computer speed, declining computer costs, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics.

An association’s culture needs to embrace, support, and celebrate risk-taking by being highly innovative, strategic in trying new things, putting new ideas together, and developing new products and services.

Additional tools

Each module in this course has a workbook for you to use to take notes as you complete the training. You can either download, save, and print the PDF workbook to handwrite your notes, or you can download, save, and type your notes in the blue fields in the PDF.


Your members rate your association against the best customer service they have ever experienced from an organization.

To stay competitive and successful, your association’s culture needs to be highly innovative, strategically trying new things, putting new ideas together, developing new products and services showing that the association’s culture embraces, supports, and celebrates risk-taking.

Reaction to risk taking

  • When someone takes an acceptable business risk and it fails, embrace them and the risk they took. Encourage them for trying and learning great lessons.
  • Do not punish or embarrass them or tell them to never do it again.
  • When people go out on a limb, you don’t want to cut the limb off if the idea fails.

Guidelines for risk taking

Impact = Consequences to the business if an idea fails

Probability = The likelihood that an idea will fail


Ideas to encourage innovation

How senior leaders can encourage an innovative culture

Be open-minded!

Remove assumptions. Change your frame of reference. Be willing to look at things differently.

There are no bad ideas. People are safe, ideas are not. Attack the idea, why it might not work, too expensive, impacts members. Everyone has a responsibility to make the idea better.

Keep asking why….Why do you think this will work, what's the ripple effect, who will be impacted. So that you can take it apart and look at it see if it might work. Keep asking why so that you can really understand the idea at its deepest level.

Senior management team needs to be a living example of innovation. Reading, studying it, bringing ideas. Bringing examples of other ideas. Protecting those who take risks and fail. Encouraging and celebrating people and projects and processes when they are highly innovating and help the association. If you push back and punish people, don’t get excited, or get excited when it doesn’t work, you will kill innovation and risk-taking in your association.

Check for understanding

See if you understand the concepts by completing the quiz. Click Innovation and risk taking quiz to begin.